Survey: 75% of US companies have already had Y2K failures

First, the bad news: three-quarters of US companies have already experienced year 2000-related failures, according to an ongoing survey of information technology executives at 161 companies and government agencies.

The good news is that only 2 per cent of those companies polled have actually suffered business disruptions because of those glitches, as they were able to either fix the problems quickly or enact workarounds, the survey found. Looking ahead, that could be a positive harbinger of what might occur early next year.

"The key is what will the volume [of problems] be and can they be fixed quickly," said Jim Woodward, senior vice president of Cap Gemini America in New York, which has been conducting the survey with Rubin Systems since 1997.

Among the Y2K failures that have occurred, 92 per cent involved financial miscalculations or losses, 84 per cent caused processing disruptions, 38 per cent led to customer service problems and 34 per cent were supply-chain or logistics breakdowns.

Few of the failures have been visible because they haven't caused significant business disruptions, and companies "don't have a lot of reasons to make them public", Woodward said.

Still, the survey results highlight other concerns. Only 48 per cent of the organisations polled expect to have all their mission-critical systems prepared, and 16 per cent don't expect at least half of their most important systems to be ready.

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